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Anders Johansson, doktor i produktionsteknik

‘When companies invest in factories, they usually focus on producing the right quality products at the right price, and of a certain volume. The grounds on which decisions are made are based on financial values. But beyond manufacturing and products, factories can also contribute to other value chains that benefit the company, its customers, and other stakeholders in the surrounding community.’

‘I have identified the different stakeholders that may exist around a manufacturing industry, what added value the factory can contribute, and how that can be taken into account when decisions regarding new investments in manufacturing systems and factories are to be made.’

As an industrial doctoral student at Scania in Södertälje, Anders has been able to study the development of the company's factories on different continents for several years.

Who and what are the existing stakeholders and added values?

‘Internally, companies can benefit from involving product developers, purchasers, marketers, salespeople and other professionals in the decision-making process. It often brings new perspectives to manufacturing, and can inspire new innovations that improve products, customer service and more. Broad staff representation is also necessary to create more sustainable workplaces.’ 

‘External stakeholders may be education providers in the local area who, in close collaboration with the industrial company, strengthen the competence supply in the short and long term. Designing factories so that school groups at different levels can visit without compromising safety can inspire future employees, and facilitate collaboration with researchers and students.’

‘Production facilities are complex environments where high security requirements govern the design, and limit accessibility. But if you can succeed in creating a more visitor-friendly factory, this may have an impact on development in several areas.’

‘In the long term, the company also has an impact on surrounding trade, industry, and society. Various forms of associated services and societal functions often develop in tandem with the production unit.’

What are the challenges in the decision-making process?

‘Conflicts of interest can arise when different requirements and values collide. Financial values are currently a high priority when final decisions are made. It can be difficult to quantify measures that make the workplace more sustainable, that reduce the factory's climate impact, or that make it possible to host pre-school classes, where the future recruitment base is found.’

‘Buying new technology for a factory can also be complicated. In the wake of digitalisation, the pace of development is rapid, while investment in new equipment must be long-term. Achieving an optimal requirements specification that satisfies many values requires broad interdepartmental collaboration, and a transparent decision-making process.’

‘But the biggest challenge is probably seeing factory investment as part of a bigger picture. To think not only about product and profitability, but to think more innovatively, and to value the whole.’

Does your research influence how Scania designs new factories?

‘Scania is in a process of major organisational change, and is talking more and more about new value chains. There is a growing awareness that not all values can be translated into dollars and cents.’ 

‘My role at Scania is to support colleagues around the world in issues of production development and quality. So I hope to be able to help broaden perspectives as the company invests in new factories.’

‘It's great to see that the company is already taking the impact of digitalisation into account, and including sustainability values in the decision-making process.’ 

Read Anders Johansson's thesis‘Challenging traditional manufacturing objectives: Designing manufacturing systems for product manufacturing and value production’

Contact: email:, phone: 08 553 801 65